Which are the Countries allowing Travel Post Covid Lockdown?
Due to the ongoing worldwide rampage of the Covid-19 virus, the global tourism industry has essentially come to a standstill.
Even though a few countries have already opened their borders, uninhibited international travel is still far off from gaining normalcy.
In this regard, India remains to be among the countries mulling over whether resuming international flights would be wise under the current predicament.
Although the full-scale operation of international flight service is impossible at present, India has established ‘air bubbles’ in association with some other nations, allowing restricted travel abroad.
What is an Air Bubble?
Air bubbles refer to bilateral agreements between two nations, establishing a travel corridor so that emergency travel is possible from one of these countries to the other during the current pandemic situation.
Countries Where Indians Can Travel to via Air Bubbles
Till date, India has successfully established such air bubbles with 16 countries:
- The United States of America
- The United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Who Can Book Flight Tickets?
To travel through these corridors, you must follow specific guidelines. Depending on the country of your visit, these guidelines may differ considerably.
Also, if you are planning to travel to these locations for a vacation, you can unpack your bags right now.
These flights are operational only as a means to transport stranded nationals of various countries back to the shores where they reside. Thus, you cannot get on these flights on a tourist visa.
Flying to These Countries from India
US citizens, OCI cardholders, diplomats and permanent residents of the United States are allowed to board a flight from India to the US.
Additionally, Indians with a valid visa to the country, lasting more than 30 days, can also travel via these flights. However, tourist visa holders are prohibited from travel.
Flying to India from These Countries
Any Indian citizen stranded at one of these four countries can also avail one such flight and return to India.
Flying to France: Things to Know
French nationals looking to book tickets aboard a flight from New Delhi to Paris should know the following things –
- Air travel between India and France commenced on July 23rd.
- Paris bound flights are scheduled to take off on a tri-weekly basis, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- A French citizen, his/her spouse and children, are the only ones allowed to travel using these flights.
- Apart from diplomats, OCI and permanent residents, healthcare workers travelling to battle COVID-19 will be allowed on such flights. Additionally, sailors and ship crewmembers can also avail flights to Paris from India.
- All passengers planning to undertake this journey need to possess an International Travel Certificate. You need to show this before boarding the flight and at immigration after landing. You can visit the French consular offices to acquire this document.
Flying to Germany: Things to Know
German citizens should peruse the following points before boarding a flight from New Delhi to Frankfurt:
- Flight operations between India and Germany resumed on July 25th.
- The four weekly flights to Germany are scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Only people with residence permits or permanent residence permits of Germany will be allowed to board these flights.
- Travel to visit family members or seek employment in Germany is currently not allowed.
- However, one can travel to Germany on a family reunion visa.
As of October, all flights between Germany and India have been suspended until October 20. An unexpected rejection of its planned flight schedule was responsible for this temporary travel ban.
India is currently negotiating with German authorities regarding the number of Indian airlines allowed to fly to Germany.
Flying to the United States: Things to Know
- India will operate around 180 flights from several Indian airports to various locations in the US between July 22nd and August 31st.
- People who have transited from other countries in the last 14 days are restricted from entering US borders.
- Spouses and children of permanent residents and US citizens are allowed to travel.
- Legal guardians of underage US citizens or residents can also avail these flights.
- If you hold the following visas - A-1, A-2, C-1, C-1/D, C-2, C-3, D, E-1, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, IR-4, IH-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6– you are cleared to travel to America.
- Additionally, anyone who can provide evidence of invitation from the US Government for research and containment of COVID-19 virus may also use these flights to reach the country.
Flying to the UAE: Things to Know
- UAE travellers need to undergo a PCR test, which should not predate their departure date by 4 days.
- Once the flight lands at the destination, passengers will need to undergo another COVID-19 test.
- International health insurance is mandatory for travellers to enter the country in question.
- Passengers must have the Covid-19 DXB app downloaded and ready to go on their phones.
Flying to Afghanistan: Things to Know
- Residents of Afghanistan or foreign nationals holding a valid visa to the country can board flights to Afghanistan.
- Indian nationals from Afghanistan holding a valid visa to Afghanistan can board these flights. However, airport authorities will use their discretion to determine whether there is any restriction for Indians to enter Afghanistan with the concerned visa category.
Flying to Canada: Things to Know
- Canadian nationals or citizens who are stranded in India with a valid Canadian visa can travel using these air bubbles.
- Foreign seamen nationalities, as well as Indian seamen, with proper clearance from the Ministry of Shipping
- Indian nationals with a valid Canadian visa can board flights to the country. However, airport authorities will determine whether people with a particular category of visas are allowed to enter Canada.
Flying to Bahrain: Things to Know
- Nationals and citizens of Bahrain can travel on these flights
- Indian nationals holding a visa from Bahrain and destined for Bahrain can also travel. Again, airlines should determine whether entry is permitted for Indian nationals on the concerned visa category that the traveller holds.
Flying to Iraq: Things to Know
● Indian nationals holding valid visas from Iraq and destined to Iraq only can board flights to the country.
● Iraqi nationals and citizens
Flying to Japan: Things to Know
● Japanese nationals, citizens and other foreign nationals with a valid Japanese bias can travel from India to Japan.
● Indians holding a valid Japanese visa can also travel in the flights, if they are not subject to the travel restrictions and border measures employed by the Japanese authorities at the time of travel.
Flying to Nigeria: Things to Know
● Seamen of other nationalities can travel to Nigeria. Indian seamen can also board such flights with prior clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.
● Stranded Nigerians residents or nationals
● Foreign residents holding a valid Nigerian visa and destined to visit any country in Africa, along with spouses of such people
● Indian nationals with a valid Nigerian visa, who are planning to visit any African country.
Flying to Maldives: Things to Know
● Maldivian residents/nationals and foreign nationals with valid visas to Maldives can board these flights.
● Indian nationals can travel to Maldives too as long as the airlines feel that there are no restrictions to stop Indian nationals from entering the foreign nation.
Flying to the United Kingdom: Things to Know
● Indians with valid UK visas who are destined to travel to the United Kingdom can travel on such a flight.
● Seamen of foreign nationalities, along with Indian seamen with Ministry of Shipping’s permission, can board such flights.
● Stranded UK citizens or nationals in India, foreign nationals transiting through the UK or spouses of these people can avail of these flights.
Flying to Qatar: Things to Know
● Qatari nationals
● Indians holding a valid Qatar visa and destined to Qatar only can board such flights. In such cases, the airlines must ensure that Qatar does not restrict the entry of Indian nationals on the visa category that a passenger is travelling on.
Special Vande Bharat Flights to and from China
India plans to operate two special Vande Bharat Flights between Indian and China on October 23 and October 30. These flights would transport stranded Indians from China back to their homeland.
Additionally, Indians with valid Chinese work permits can board a flight to China in one of these flights as well.
You must understand that air bubbles are special and temporary provisions for travel, keeping in mind the current situation.
When the number of infection cases starts to dwindle in India, more countries would likely open their borders to travellers from the country.
However, in the present scenario, travelling internationally is restricted for most Indian nationals.
The DGCA may take a call on this after the October 31st deadline ends. However, until then, stay home and stay safe!
Disclaimer - This article was updated on 5th October-2020.. The information mentioned here is collected from different news websites and online sources.